David Koch, Billionaire Conservative Activist and Philanthropist Dies at 79

Lincoln Center Spring Gala

Billionaire conservative activist and philanthropist, David H. Koch, has passed away at the age of 79, his family announced Friday.

"It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of my brother David," his elder brother, Charles Koch said in a statement Friday. "Anyone who worked with David surely experienced his giant personality and passion for life."

David a prostate cancer survivor, was diagnosed 27 years ago and given only 5 years to live at the time.

"David liked to say that a combination of brilliant doctors, state-of-the-art medications and his own stubbornness kept the cancer at bay," Charles added. "We can all be grateful that it did, because he was able to touch so many more lives as a result."

David, along with his brother, were the owners of Koch Industries, an energy and chemical company based in Kansas since 1983. Last year, David announced that he was stepping down from running the organization due to health issues. The successful business propelled the brothers to become tied for 11th richest in the world, according to a Forbes ranking of wealthiest individuals in the world.

The Koch brothers were also well-known for supporting a massive network of conservative donors to help mobilize votes and appeal to elected officials for their libertarian-leaning economic platforms. The nonprofit Americans for Prosperity, is credited with spending over $1 billion over the last several elections to support candidates and issues that appeal to their small-government, libertarian platform.

David Koch was also a philanthropist, donating hundreds of millions of dollars to medical research and the arts, including donations to Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Photo: Getty Images

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